Programme of the Regeneration of Urban Monument Reserves (UMR) and Urban Monument Zones (UMZ)

The Programme of the Regeneration of Urban Monument Reserves (UMR) and Urban Monument Zones (UMZ), was established by Czech Government Resolution No. 209 of 25 March 1992, as an instrument for the conservation and development of cultural values, at clearly defined organizational and economic conditions of their restoration and improvement of the environment, as well as for the setting up of centres for the promotion of business activities by the historical cores of towns and municipalities. Their condition after the political change in 1989 was woeful: the technical infrastructure was insufficient and neglected, buildings were in bad disrepair, housing quality was poor, the social structure of inhabitants was unsatisfactory, shops and services were lacking and property relations were disrupted. The endeavour of the Association to achieve a systemic solution to the regeneration of historical settlements received a response from the Ministry of Culture and the then Ministry for Economic Policy and Development of the Czech Republic - the activities were later adopted by the Ministry for Regional Development.

The regeneration process concerns virtually all the UMRs and UMZs in the country. Generally speaking, it has been thanks to the Regeneration Programme that the state of protected heritage sites has visibly improved. The systems of technical infrastructure, communications and housing are being restored, with emphasis being put on the protection of the residential functions and recovery of the social structure of the inhabitants. The environment is improving. The towns are enlivened by entrepreneurial and social activities, and by cultural events. The regeneration process produces many new jobs and scope is created for business activities. The need for tourist facilities and services is growing because the restored historical cores of our towns increasingly attract tourists. The awareness that cultural heritage should be protected is settling down in the minds of the citizens. In various commissions, non-profit organizations, at public meetings as well as individually they participate in the preparation of long-term concepts and in the evaluation of the projects to implement the Regeneration Programme. This too makes a significant contribution to the promotion of democratic procedures in the administration of towns, and to the enhancement of the possibilities available to self-government.

The municipalities see the greatest asset of the Regeneration Programme in its consistency. The continuous existence of the programme is guaranteed by its legislative basis, and the users are thus enabled to draft their plans for the longer term. The Regeneration Programme has put the care of cultural monuments and the regeneration of protected heritage sites on the list of local policy priorities, thus stimulating and motivating the users to give forward-looking and co-ordinated care to cultural values within the social and economic development of the areas. The stimulating financial policy of the Programme, which requires the owners´ participation, is a factor for both the municipalities and private owners which thus decide more easily to provide "a part" of the total investment. What is more, it relieves the strain on the communal budgets and allows investment of their resources e.g. in the infrastructures or communications. The entire regeneration process of the settlements makes faster progress. Not to mention the fact that many municipalities would never reconstruct their monuments, considering the potential of their budgets and the overall requirements.

Multi-source financing, in which the owner, the state and the municipality have been involved in the monument restoration, has been used for the first time ever. The first subsidies were granted from the state budget to the UMR and UMZ Regeneration Programme in 1993.